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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Drivers from all over the country are already in hot pursuit of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track championships.
The season is officially underway at a number of tracks, with even more slated to begin the racing season by the end of March.
Among those who are already off to a hot start is three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National champion Lee Pulliam, who has already collected victories in two extra distance events at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway on Feb. 11 and Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina, on March 4.
Pulliam isn’t the only driver off to a fast start. Cody Haskins started off the regular season at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina by sweeping twin late model stock car features, Harrison Burton won two times en route to winning the 51st World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing crown at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway, and Dave Roberts kicked off his track championship defense at Anderson Motor Speedway in South Carolina with a a visit to Victory Lane.
Here is a quick look at some of the tracks that have already begun the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season or are slated to begin before the end of March.
• Myrtle Beach opened the South Carolina racing season on Feb. 11 with the second annual IceBreaker. The regular season kicks off on March 18 when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour joins the weekly late model class for a day of racing. The track hosts events every other Saturday night from March 18 until Oct. 21.
• Tucson Speedway in Arizona opened the season on Feb. 4 with the Chilly Willy 150 for super late models, which was won by Owen Riddle. The .375-mile high-banked asphalt oval will sanction racing every Saturday night through Oct. 28, with super late models serving as the premier division. It hosts the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener this Saturday.
• New Smyrna has had a number of early-season events: Cole Anderson of Northfield, Minnesota, swept the Red Eye 100 on Jan. 4, and the Orange Blossom 100 on Jan. 24, for the Super Late Model Division, while Burton edged fellow NASCAR Next drivers Spencer Davis and Ty Majeski to take the World Series crown in February. The half-mile asphalt oval opens its regular season on March 25 and will race every Saturday night until the season finale on Oct. 28.
• Greenville Pickens, opened its regular season on March 4 and the half-mile slightly banked asphalt oval hosts weekly racing every Saturday night, with twin late model stock car races scheduled once a month through Sept. 16.
• Historic Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina began the new season of racing on March 6 with twin late model stock car features, which were won by Ryan Millington and R.D. Smith. The .333-mile asphalt track will host nine more double feature evenings as well as several extra distance events for the late model stock cars on Saturday nights through Oct. 21.
• Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina, kicked off the year with a 150-lap race for the late model stock car division on March 4. The track hosts racing once or twice a month, with the headlining late model stock cars slated to compete in nine twin features at the four-tenths-mile asphalt oval from March 18 through Sept. 10.
• Anderson Motor Speedway, located in Williamston, S.C., began the racing season on March 10. The track will host racing on Friday nights from March through Aug. 25, including a pair of twin 40-lap features for the late model stock cars on May 12 and July 14.
• California’s Irwindale Speedway opened the new season on March 11 with veteran driver Nick Joanides besting track champion Trevor Huddleston in a 50-lap late model feature. The track will host events twice a month from March through September, including eight events featuring twin races for the headlining late model division.
• Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina, was slated to open the season on March 12, but a poor weather forecast forced track officials to postpone the season opener until March 19. The late model stock car class will headline 13 out of 23 nights of racing during the season, highlighted by the 171-lap Rusty Harpe Memorial on June 30.
• Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee kicks off 2017 on Saturday night, March 18 with the Food City 175. The .375-mile semi-banked concrete oval, which features late model stock cars as the top class, will host weekly racing on most Friday nights beginning March 31 through Sept. 1.
• The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway rings in the new season of racing beginning on March 25, with the .375-mile paved oval slated to host 15 nights of racing through Nov. 18. The premier super late model division will compete on most of those nights, which includes special evenings like Hometown Heroes Night (May 8), Pack the Track Night (May 13), Military Appreciation Night (May 20) and the Chris Trickle Classic (June 3).
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.
Nick Joanides started the season in Victory Lane last Saturday at Irwindale Speedway. Steve Coffee